Is Anxiety Making You Feel Like a Fraud?

If you’ve struggled with anxiety in your life, you’re not alone. I have, a lot of my clients have, and it’s one of the major factors holding back some of the most talented and engaging entrepreneurs and coaches around from allowing themselves to be seen on a much bigger scale.

Feeling like you’re a fake or fraud is called Imposter Syndrome, and it can strike even the most successful people in the world. From Hollywood stars to top businesspeople, feeling like you’re not the success other people think you are can lead to crippling self-doubt, and missing out on important connections and opportunities.

I like to think of anxiety like little goblins that live in my head (hear me out). Visualising them as cartoon goblins with silly voices reduces the impact they have on me. I’m a book and media coach not a doctor, so if you are feeling crippled by anxiety go and get yourself checked out- what I’m sharing with you here is what has worked for me, and it may work for you too.

The number one thing to remember, is that the anxiety goblins that tell you that your partner is cheating, your best friend doesn’t like you, your coach thinks you’re an idiot, or you’re ripping all your clients off and they’ll all be cross with you when they realise what a sham you are; are just doing their job.

They are trying to keep you safe… the only thing is that they are sometimes do it too well and start to become over bearing. Recognise that this is so normal. All of the information that your anxiety goblins have to go on are from your past and a lot of that will be from when you were very young and were making sense of your experiences with a child’s mind, often creating a story to give it a meaning it never even had.

For example, I had a client who wanted to write a book, but didn’t think anyone would be interested in what she had to say. We worked on this and found that she formed that belief about herself when she was around 5 years old and went to show her mum a drawing she had made, and her mum didn’t pay any attention.

In her 30’s now, she knows that her mum must have been busy and that’s it! But from a child’s perspective, she decided then that nobody would be interested in her work. She is now writing her book and when her anxiety goblins pipe up, she recognises them for what they are, deals with them and carries on.

Something to realise is that there’s no shame in having these feelings. You are human and it’s part of your experience. If you experience intense emotions, you will also experience intense highs. I used to think this was a bad thing, until someone recently asked me if I’d prefer to live my life in neutral and my response was a strong HELL NO. Since then, I’ve honoured all of my emotions, the good ones and the ones percieved as being “bad”.

One way to manage these feelings, is tackle negative self-talk that’s due to anxiety. Write the negative thoughts down as they occur, and then sit down when you’re feeling less negative, and add a “BUT” to the end. Make the “BUT” all about the anxiety.

• I feel like a fake – BUT it’s just the anxiety goblins doing their job
• I feel like my message is dumb, people think I’m stupid and I am going to fail at this – BUT I know that due to the anxiety goblins, and that I will feel like this from time to time.
• My book is boring, I don’t like it and no one is going to read it – BUT the anxiety goblins are being over protective, and what they are saying is not true.

Of course, sometimes you won’t like something you’ve done because it doesn’t fit who you are any more, or it wasn’t quite the right thing to do in the first place. It can be hard to tell whether something is really not you any more, or whether it’s the anxiety talking. However, honouring your anxious feelings about your work rather than ignoring them, leads to a much healthier relationship with your identity. You don’t have to take on board everything that your anxiety is saying to you, but noticing and even thanking your anxiety goblins for bringing things to your attention and letting them know that everything is going to be OK, is an awesome way to handle the sometimes overwhelming feelings.

The most important thing of all, if you’re prone to anxiety and negative self-talk, is to prevent it from becoming a cycle. The “BUT it’s the anxiety goblins talking” exercise is a very easy way to begin to take control of these feelings that you’re an imposter or fraud.

How do you manage your anxiety around leading and being seen? Let me know in the comments below!

Tags: Anxiety, impostor syndrome, how can I manage my anxiety?, feeling like a fraud, entrepreneurs, business, influencers, book coach, media coach, mindset, success, get into the media, writing a book

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